June 28, 2022


You’re Stuck in a Style Rut Post-COVID: Now What?

By: Leah Nalepa

I recently worked with several clients who have reached out to me because they feel like they are stuck in a style rut after being in lockdown for so long. I completely understand this and have been there myself. Not only did the shutdown force us to dramatically alter our daily routines, but many of us either gained or lost weight over the past two years, changed our work environment or job altogether, quit a job, leaned into wearing athleisure 100% of the time, or something else. Our lives have changed, and so has much of our style. 

So where do we begin? 

After considering some of my most recent conversations, I’ve distilled a few recommendations that I hope are helpful to climbing out of a style rut and fully becoming who you are through a strong and confident sense of personal style.  

Know and Understand your Body Type 

Knowing and understanding what your body type is and how to dress it is essential to getting out of any style rut. Many of us associate a deep sense of esteem and confidence (or lack thereof) from our body so it’s important to be objective when analyzing your body type. It is possible to stand in front of a mirror and say, “I don’t like this part of me, but I do like this part of me. Either way, they are both part of me for now.” Recognizing our body type is important because of sizing, how fabrics will lay, how patterns attract or detract from an area, and what types of clothes will enhance our shape. For women especially, there is no one-shape-fits-all approach, and many of us can be a mix of two different body shapes. 

Create a Digital Collage or Vision Board of Brands, Images, and Influencers That Inspire You

By far, the easiest way to do this in my opinion is through Pinterest or Canva. Both resources are free, and I’m sure most of the readers have utilized one if not both of those platforms. Consider why the images you have chosen stand out to you. What about the celebrities’ or influencers’ looks do you like? What is your current image versus your ideal image? Are there certain looks, colors, or patterns that you are attracted to? Do the brands or images reflect some of your own personality and characteristics? 

Remove Pieces From Your Closet That Don’t Work

Every one of us has pieces that deserve to be removed from our closet. These pieces no longer reflect our current state of life but most likely we have held onto them for a variety of reasons including sentimental value, desire to fit into them “one day,” fond memories from the past, and the list goes on. An easy rubric to remember when staring at your clothes, wondering what to get rid of is this: 

1. Is this piece worn out? 

2. Is this piece outdated (too outdated that it can’t be considered “in” for the foreseeable future)?

3. Does this piece fit me? 

4. Does this piece bring me confidence and joy when I wear it? 

If the answer was “yes” to the first two questions or no to the last two questions, then those items should be donated, sold, or thrown out. Either way, they don’t belong in your closet! 

Another question I like to ask myself is, have I worn this piece during the season for which it is appropriate? If no, then I most likely won’t wear it again when that season comes around and I remove it from my wardrobe.  

Based on the pieces that remain in your closet, determine the essential items you need to purchase based on your body type and lifestyle

Arguably, this is the hardest step. You’ve analyzed your body shape, you’ve created your style vision, and you’ve pruned old clothes from your closet. Now is the time to evaluate what you need based on your body type and lifestyle

1. Are you missing absolute essentials (good pair of jeans, layering piece, certain jewelry, etc.) that are non-negotiables when it comes to completing your wardrobe?

2. Are there pieces that you can add to your wardrobe that will enhance your shape and make you feel really great about your body? 

3. Determine how you spend the majority of your time (in-person meetings, playing with kids, working from home on a computer, etc). Are there pieces that you need because your work environment or lifestyle has changed?

4. Are there pieces you can add that will enhance your personality through color, texture, pattern, or shine? 

5. Where do you usually shop? Are you looking to diversify your brand preferences in this process? 

Answering these questions will help you refine what’s needed versus what’s wanted, and where to start. 

Work with a stylist to cultivate a better understanding of your style vision and needs

While I may be biased, I recommend working with a personal stylist. To me, hiring a stylist is like hiring a trainer, a nutritionist, a financial advisor, or life coach.  You have a goal, and this person will help you get there. It’s not meant to be lasting unless you want it to be. There are many types of stylists ranging from apps on your phone, to curated accounts like Stitch Fix, to stylists at department stores like Nordstrom, to individual certified stylists that work with you individually in-person or virtually. No matter the route you take, ensure that the stylist you choose will cater to your individual needs and meet the style goals you are ultimately after. You deserve it!